The Co-op’s smallest store has launched a scientific study in partnership with all 1,000 residents of Pilton Village in Somerset.
In a UK first, the experiment in Pilton will set out to create the ‘ultimate environment’ for optimum soft-plastic recycling, the retailer says, engaging and educating the population of one village on what, how and why to collect all their soft plastic.
Supporting the move is a unique “Recycling Behaviour Change Board”, including famous faces, scientists, behaviour specialists and consumers designed to bring together a ‘collective understanding on how to support positive behaviour change with a mission to understand how it can help to establish long-term plastic recycling habits in the heart of every community’.
New research by the convenience retailer shows that while 92% of Brits are committed to recycling, millions admit to not always sticking to recycling rules, with nearly half of UK adults (49 percent) admitting to putting items in their home recycling bins that they are unsure can even be recycled.
Co-op’s study highlighted that nearly 70% of adults know they have a better attitude to recycling. Nearly a third believe they can recycle ‘soft-plastics’ at home.
The launch of our in store soft-plastic recycling scheme is designed to simplify recycling for consumers, but we know that as a business there is more we can do to make long-term positive changes to the consumer behaviours in the communities we serve
The initiative established an accessible disposal route for materials which are unlikely to be collected by UK councils, including: crisp packets, bread bags, single-use carrier bags and bags-for-life, lids from ready meals and yogurt pots, biscuit wrappers and pet-food pouches.
It will be available in 2,300 Co-op stores by November.
The Co-op says the scheme is also designed to ‘reassure concerned communities’ that the plastics collected will be recycled in the UK rather than flooding land-fill sites, going to incineration or, being shipped overseas.
Sara Cox, Presenter, DJ and Recycling Behaviour Change Board Member said: “We all know that it is important to do our bit when it comes to recycling. However, even when we do set out with all the best intentions, it’s difficult to know what can and can’t be collected, and the truth is that many of us are getting it wrong or feel that recycling is a futile task.
“I’m taking on the role as a Recycling Behaviour Change Board member because I want to help everyone to learn how simple it can be to collect soft plastics at home and return them to their local Co-op store.”
Iain Ferguson, Environment Manager, Co-op, said: “As a business we are committed to supporting simple solutions to everyday environmental issues.
“The launch of our in store soft-plastic recycling scheme is designed to simplify recycling for consumers, but we know that as a business there is more we can do to make long-term positive changes to the consumer behaviours in the communities we serve.
“We are excited to find out what we can learn from the experiment, and how we can put those learnings into action nationally.”
Results and learnings will be released and shared later in the year in a bid to create long-lasting behaviour change to help consumers navigate the plastic kerb-side collection lottery across the UK.